Flyers zero in on Eastern title, 3-0
PHILADELPHIA — Michael Leighton is for real — and he has all those zeros to prove it.
Leighton stopped 30 shots and recorded his second straight shutout, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, last night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
"We're in a great situation," Leighton said. "I'm not trying to think so much."
His season was considered over once he went down with an ankle injury in mid-March. Now, Leighton has the Flyers two wins away from their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1997.
Leighton is the first Flyers goalie to record consecutive playoff shutouts since Bernie Parent in 1975. His shutout streak of 165:50 is the second-longest in team history behind Brian Boucher's 184:45 in its run to the East finals in 2000.
Danny Briere and Simon Gagne scored power-play goals, and Ville Leino also scored for the Flyers.
"We all feel like we haven't played our best games yet," Briere said. "We still have more in the tank."
The Flyers have won six straight postseason games and look to keep it going in Game 3 tomorrow at Montreal.
The Flyers have scored 13 straight goals in the postseason since trailing 3-0 in Game 7 against Boston in the East semifinals. Leighton has been solid since taking over for an injured Boucher in Game 5 of the semis.
The Flyers haven't won the Stanley Cup since the second of their consecutive championships in 1975.
"Michael Leighton saved our game tonight in the first period," coach Peter Laviolette said.
Leighton's emergence was as timely as Gagne's return. He rushed back to the lineup in the semifinals after a broken toe and scored his sixth goal in six games since then.
His goal late in the second period gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead — and a badly needed cushion. The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the first period and the Flyers didn't reach double-digits in shots until mid-second.
"We had good chances, we played a much better game," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.
MONTREAL 0 0 0 — 0
PHILADELPHIA 1 1 1 — 3
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Briere 9 (Giroux, Timonen), 4:16 (pp). Penalties—Krajicek, Phi (slashing), 2:02; Gomez, Mon (hooking), 2:55; Leino, Phi (holding), 7:11; Philadelphia bench, served by Asham (too many men), 15:52.
Second Period—2, Philadelphia, Gagne 6 (Leino, Richards), 15:49 (pp). Penalties—Gionta, Mon (holding), 14:32.
Third Period—3, Philadelphia, Leino 3 (Krajicek, Pronger), 10:24. Penalties—Gill, Mon (interference), 7:54; Asham, Phi (slashing), 14:21; Subban, Mon (slashing), 16:40.
Shots on Goal—Montreal 16-10-4—30. Philadelphia 6-7-10—23. Power-play opportunities—Montreal 0 of 4; Philadelphia 2 of 4. Goalies—Montreal, Halak 8-7-0 (23 shots-20 saves). Philadelphia, Leighton 4-0-0 (30-30).
A—19,907 (19,537). T—2:22.
BLACKHAWKS 4, SHARKS 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Whether it's the room service meals, the in-room movies or the field trips to Alcatraz, there's something about playing on the road that brings out the best in the Chicago Blackhawks.
Dustin Byfuglien and Jonathan Toews scored on deflections 90 seconds apart in the second period and the Blackhawks rolled to their record-tying seventh straight road win in the playoffs by beating the San Jose Sharks last night in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.
"The way we've been playing on the road, it just seems like everything has gone right for us," said forward Patrick Kane, who had two assists. "Sometimes you get on the road, it's just a simpler attitude. We've had a lot of fun with bonding in the hotel and different things. Sometimes you do that, it's almost like you're clicking before you're even on the ice."
Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer also scored, and Antti Niemi made 25 saves for the Blackhawks, who have a 2-0 series lead. This is the closest Chicago has been to making the Stanley Cup final since getting there in 1992.
The series moves to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday night and Game 4 on Sunday. That may not be the best thing for the Blackhawks, who are only 3-3 at home this postseason.
"It's a good start," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "To come into this building, a tough building to come into, and to get two wins is good."
CHICAGO 1 2 1 — 4
SAN JOSE 0 1 1 — 2
First Period—1, Chicago, Ladd 2 (Keith, Versteeg), 12:48. Penalties—Wallin, SJ (hooking), 13:13.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Byfuglien 6 (Kane, Toews), 6:59. 3, Chicago, Toews 7 (Keith, Kane), 8:29 (pp). 4, San Jose, Marleau 4 (Thornton, D.Boyle), 11:08 (pp). Penalties—Murray, SJ (roughing), 7:36; Bolland, Chi (holding), 10:06.
Third Period—5, Chicago, Brouwer 2 (Hjalmarsson, Hossa), 6:18. 6, San Jose, Marleau 5 (Heatley, D.Boyle), 15:32. Penalties—Thornton, SJ (slashing), 8:14; Blake, SJ (holding), 17:54; Seabrook, Chi (roughing), 19:42; Ladd, Chi (roughing), 19:42; Heatley, SJ (roughing), 19:42; Clowe, SJ, minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:42.
Shots on Goal—Chicago 9-9-4—22. San Jose 11-9-7—27. Power-play opportunities—Chicago 1 of 4; San Jose 1 of 1. Goalies—Chicago, Niemi 10-4-0 (27 shots-25 saves). San Jose, Nabokov 8-5-0 (22-18).
A—17,562 (17,496). T—2:20.
All times Hawai'i
Sunday, May 16
Chicago 2, San Jose 1
Philadelphia 6, Montreal 0
Philadelphia 3, Montreal 0
Philadelphia leads series 2-0
Chicago 4, San Jose 2
Chicago leads series 2-0
Philadelphia at Montreal, 1 p.m.
Friday, May 21
San Jose at Chicago, 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 22
Philadelphia at Montreal, 9 a.m.
Sunday, May 23
San Jose at Chicago, 9 a.m.
Monday, May 24
x-Montreal at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, May 25
x-Chicago at San Jose, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, May 26
x-Philadelphia at Montreal, 1 p.m.
Thursday, May 27
x-San Jose at Chicago, 2 p.m.
Friday, May 28
x-Montreal at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 29
x-Chicago at San Jose, 2 p.m.